Green Global Trek “Top 5” for Granada, Spain

Our stay in Granada is an opportunity to wink at our personal history.

We were here, years ago, when early-on in our relationship, we seized every opportunity to travel together.  We return to Granada thus with somewhat faded, but warm memories.  During our 18 month Green Global Trek nomadic journey, we have made a point of returning to three places which have especially fond memories in our lives together.

We first returned, after many years, to Pushkar, Rajasthan, India.  It was as extravagantly exotic as we remembered it to be.  A few months later, we returned to Essaouira, Morocco, another place that captured our imagination and hearts.  Just as it was before, years ago, Essaouira remains a painter’s paradise.  And now we come back to Granada, this time, as Nomadic Empty Nesters.  Just as in the two prior cases, this experience only serves to rekindle old charms.

Granada Spain still delivers its magic.

1) Gaze at the 360 degree visual treat that is our neighborhood ~ the Albaicin, a World Heritage site, directly across from the Alhambra castle. The Albaicin has a Medieval Moorish (Arabic) past and is one of the oldest centers of Muslim culture in Granada.

IMG_5467

A full moon, a castle light up with a golden glow ~ A dramatic sight from our rooftop patio.

IMG_4564

The house we are staying in for two weeks, situated directly across from a neighborhood church. The windows you see are the second floor of the home.

IMG_4567

Outside “our” home, located on Calles Beso, which means street of the kiss. There is a legend written on one of the walls, about a beautiful girl who was resuscitated from illness and death with a kiss from her mother.

We have a wood burning fireplace, a well equipped little kitchen, and wifi, in our charming home exchange house in the Albaicin.

IMG_4550_2

The evenings are quite chilly as winter is not quite over yet. Every night we build a fire and make a meal using products from the local farmers market. Nice and cosy!

IMG_4538_2

During the day, the view towards the famed Alhambra Castle changes with the light and time of day. Always captivating! We start and end the days here on the patio, with this view. Perfect place to greet the sun, catch some rays and do yoga.

IMG_4532_2

Blue skies, worn Spanish tiles, Cyprus trees and whitewashed walls make up the view.

IMG_5539

A dramatic sunset brightens the sky.

IMG_4557_2

Cafe Gatos ~ a five minute walk from where we are staying becomes our “go to” place for breakfast each day. Chairs in the morning sun, newspapers nearby and good cappucino and fresh orange juice. The favored breakfast by Granadinos: white toasted baguette with tomate pulp and olive oil. Lots of olive oil!

IMG_5456

On Sunday our breakfast has the added value of live music! In the background there is a view of the top of the castle, as with many streets from the Albaicin neighborhood.

image-11

Spring IS on the way. This flowering yellow tree down the cobblestoned lane from our house, gives a burst of bright yellow to the street.

IMG_4626

IMG_4513_2

A favorite plaza has a panoramic view of the snow capped Sierra mountains in front of which Granada nestles.

IMG_4504_3

The Albaicin neighborhood has quite a few large properties with mature gardens which spill over the walls and into the narrow cobblestone lanes.

2) Stroll the streets and get lost! Nothing could be better.

IMG_4606

Winding and irregular streets of a Medieval town make for great exploring and visual treats and surprises along any walk in any direction.

IMG_4612_2

There are few cars in this area, as many streets are too narrow for them to fit through, have steps and are for pedestrians only.

IMG_4614

The almond trees are in blossom. Soft and light pink against bright whitewashed stone houses.

IMG_4583_2

As we stroll the streets, Ben is fielding calls relating to his current consultancy work re Sri Lanka.

 

IMG_4514_2

IMG_4604

IMG_4607

A vista over the modern city of Granada, which lies in the valley between the hill which is the Albaicin neighborhood where we are staying, and the hill which is the home to the Alhambra castle.

IMG_5414

Enjoying the sunshine and strolling along the river which is just below our neighborhood.

IMG_5449

We find a path to get down to the river which runs below the town. It is graced by arched Medieval bridges which are several hundred years old.

IMG_5427

The front of a building which has original painted murals on its exterior. The colors of the paintings are muted by the sun and weather, adding to the character and charm of the building.

IMG_4631_2

One of many plazas in Granada.

IMG_4643_2

Walking down from the Alhambra Castle, one of the remaining original gates from the Moorish fortress walls.

3) Hiking and exploring the mountainous terrain ~ adding a unique perspective.

image-12

Perimeter walls below the Alhambra castle are part of the “green belt” below the castle. Forest, greenery and old castle walls make for great scenery.

IMG_5417

IMG_5477

Hiking up the hill we get a good view across the valley.

IMG_4638_3

The Alhambra Castle viewed from up close as we walk around the perimeter of the fortress walls.

IMG_4647

 

4) Exploring the culinary landscape

IMG_4541_2

It all starts with the ingredients of course! The farmers’ market in a small plaza, five days a week, has excellent fresh and inexpensive produce!

IMG_5492

A huge box of chartreuse mushrooms. We have been loving all the large fresh mushrooms that are abundant this time of the year in Spain.

IMG_4601

Bunches of big fat crisp radishes.

IMG_4599

The oranges in Spain are excellent. Very juicy and very sweet. Most cafes and restaurants make fresh orange juice!

IMG_4600

IMG_5493

Gorgeous perfect golden pears. They taste as good as they look! We eat mounds of these…..!

IMG_4551_2

Picnic dinner in front of the fire: Grilled red peppers, courgette and fennel with walnuts and fresh goat cheese.

Granada is renowned for the tradition of serving free tapas when you order a beer or other drink ~ you don’t know what you will get, as it is up to the kitchen’s fancy as to what the tapas of the day might be.

One of our favorite dishes is “berenjena al miel” ~ fried eggplant strips or pieces, drizzled with cane honey.

IMG_5498

IMG_4661

A small plaza we come across which becomea one of our favorites for tapas and beer, or for lunch. Locals flocked here for a drink and tapas in the sun.

IMG_4666

Small snails ~ a seasonal specialty. We always like to try the local offering, exotic or not. These were not our favorite, but certainly worth tasting at least once.

IMG_4589

“Salmoreja” ~ The winter and thicker version of Gazpacho. (Sometimes topped with a drizzle of olive oil and Spanish ham.)

IMG_5495

Cod fish, a Spanish specialty… Here encrusted with pistachio nuts served with a drizzle of creme fraiche and fig jam.

5) Taking in the music that springs up at many street corners

image-10

Guitar, flamenco, these are the foundations of Spanish music. The beauty of Granada is one doesn’t need to go to a formal performance, the music is everywhere on the streets and it’s kick ass quality too!

IMG_4519

What a magical combination ~ The view from St. Nicholas Plaza of the castle and mountains behind while listening to Spanish guitar.

IMG_4559_2

IMG_5433

Spanish time: Lunch and tapas are from 2-4. Dinner starts around 10 pm. Spanish guitar and singing accompanies most meals.

IMG_5458

A strange round instrument that looks a bit like a very large lid. Creates some very beautiful ethereal sounds.

IMG_5518

There is quite a vibrant young alternative community in Granada. Plenty of music of all sorts as well as juggling, hooping all happening at the plaza along with the sunset.

Our fling with Granada lasts two weeks and wraps up two months of living in Spain.

We have loved talking Spanish again. Our Nicaraguan Spanish requires some adjustments as it has differences in vocabulary and accent to the Spanish in Spain. Ben has his favorite Spanish newspapers and we both have our favorite Spanish foods….(Ben’s vote = Jamon Serrano/ Dry cured ham. Peta’s vote = Salmoreja/ Winter version of Gazpacho.)

Our experience is that Spanish people we have met and or befriended while we live in Spain, are very much a friendly bunch. Oh and of course, Spanish girls are among the most attractive in the world!

From Toledo to Seville, to Cadiz and Puerto Santa Maria to Mojacar and finally to Granada.

We could easily live here, but it is time to move on. We are nomads, after all!

 

8 thoughts on “Green Global Trek “Top 5” for Granada, Spain

  1. Sophie Brown

    Beautiful! I finally had time to read about your latest adventures. It would be nice if you could bring back to L.A a whole jambon de Parme hahaha

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks Sophie!!
      The thought did cross our foodie minds! Customs might be a teeny issue though 🙂
      Look forward to seeing you!

  2. Stefano

    The nomadic, always the wanderer, always home
    The simplicity, the luxury the freedom to roam
    Relent not but rest wherever travelled afar
    And be remembered for good for friends we are
    Till again!

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Lovely Stefano! “Always the wanderer, always home” … I love that! Thank you!! Looking forward to a reunion.

  3. Charles

    Dear Peta,
    You two outdid yourselves on this post. I loved every bit of it and can’t wait to go visit. It’s always nice to seeing your smiling face again.
    Thank you, thank you,
    Charles

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      De nada Charles! So glad you enjoyed the post so much. Granada is definitely a very special place and it was our favorite Spanish city, for sure. You will love it! Thanks for the terrific feedback! Abrazos, Peta

  4. Andrea

    Peta and Ben! Oh man, I have really good memories of Granada. I should have blown off my job to hang out with you guys there. It looks beautiful. The more I think about it, the more I realize that the South of Spain beats the North any day.

    besos

    ps. did you guys check out el niño de las pinturas? He is an amazing street artist…he had a mural up right near my house on avenida de la bomba.

    http://www.elninodelaspinturas.es/

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Andrea, hell yeahhh that would have been awesome!! It was a great feeling to actually live there for two plus weeks and get into a routine of going to our favorite cafe, vistas and tapas. What a very magical place Granada is! We chose South of Spain for our home exchanges as frankly we were looking for the warmest weather during the winter months. And it turned out to be a great choice, well rewarded!

      Thanks for the link. Yeah!! He IS an incredible artist! Really amazing work!

      Besos y abrazos!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *